OPAS Brings American Icon Michael Feinstein to Dazzle Local Audience
February 4, 2023, marks the return of Grammy Award-nominated performer Michael Feinstein to the Oconee Performing Arts Society (OPAS). This return was ten years in the making – for "An Evening with Michael Feinstein."
Feinstein, who last performed at the premier performing arts organization a decade ago, has built a dazzling career, bringing the music of the Great American Songbook to the world over the last three decades. From recordings that have earned him five Grammy Award nominations to a duo of Emmy nominations for television specials, his acclaimed series for National Public Radio (NPR), concerts spanning the globe, his work as an educator and archivist, and his Five Platinum albums define him as one of the most important musical forces of the last and current century. A Drama Desk Award recipient, in 2022, Feinstein received a Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre, one of the world's highest honors for theatre and performance.
Michael Feinstein at Carnegie Hall in 2022
This extraordinary success has extended the Feinstein brand to musical venues throughout America. Last year, Feinstein's dream of a debut at the iconic Café Carlyle came true.
"I'm thrilled to be returning to OPAS, which has been home to some of the best musical entertainment around the world," said Feinstein. "And while it is an honor to be collaborating with OPAS, it is a joy to know that my dear friend Doug LaBrecque's devoted commitment to maintaining arts education initiatives in the area is a foremost priority. As access to music was the catalyst for my passion for the history of the songs that have shaped America, I can only hope for the same for the area's youth."
A lifelong Gershwin aficionado and protégé of Ira Gershwin, he launched the curation of the now legendary George and Ira archives. Feinstein's keen interest and access to the music loved by so many generations paved the way to his most recent album release, Gershwin Country. This album of standards featuring Feinstein in duet with some of the biggest names in Country Music, from Alison Krauss to Brad Paisley to Amy Grant and Vince Gill, Ronnie Milsap, and Lyle Lovett debuted to critical acclaim in early 2022. Upon its release, his rendition of "Love is Here to Stay" with Dolly Parton was a Top 10 Billboard charting tune. Fans were given a glimpse into the album when Feinstein was featured on CBS Sunday Morning alongside his dear friend and one of the album's Executive Producers, the legendary Liza Minelli. They appeared on the program to discuss their bond and their decades long friendship and series of collaborations. That appearance remains one of the top-rated for the flagship CBS news program for all of 2022.
OPAS Artistic/Executive Director Doug LaBrecque said, "This concert will be the highlight of our 15th season. Michael is a brilliant pianist, singer, and raconteur. He carries the torch for this important chapter in American music, and we are profoundly grateful to him for sharing his immense talent with us."
In 2007, Feinstein founded the Great American Songbook Foundation, an organization dedicated to celebrating the art form of American music and preserving it through educational programs, Master Classes, and the annual High School Songbook Academy. Feinstein has served on the Library of Congress' National Recording Preservation Board, an organization dedicated to ensuring the survival, conservation, and increased public availability of America's sound recording heritage, and serves as Artistic Director of the
Palladium Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. He also maintains a powerful alliance with Carnegie Hall through his "Standard Time with Michael Feinstein" in conjunction with ASCAP.
Feinstein was named Principal Pops Conductor for the Pasadena Symphony in 2012 and made his conducting debut in June 2013 to celebrated critical acclaim. Current Michael Feinstein venues include Michael's nightclub at San Francisco's Nikko Hotel, which has presented the top talents of pop and jazz since 2013, and Feinstein's at Hotel Carmichael in Carmel, Indiana opened in 2021.
The concert is on February 4, 2023, at The Plaza Arts Center at 7 PM.